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Woman’s Magical Cob House Built Earth and Reclaimed Materials

Marie France Roy is a professional snowboarder from Canada who cares deeply about the environment so she decided to experiment with building a tiny home using natural and reclaimed materials. The result is a spectacular organic-shaped cabin that she’s been living in for 4 years now.

It’s two-stories and measures approximately 400 square feet. The main floor is built with a wood frame and cob walls made of sand, clay, and straw. The second floor is built with reclaimed wood.

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Her Magical 400-sq.-ft. Cob Cottage

Tiny Cob House Tour 2

Image © Exploring Alternatives

When building with cob, it’s important to have a good roof to protect the walls from direct rain and snow, so Marie France has an overhanging roof on the top floor, and a second skirt roof around the porch.

Tiny Cob House Tour 6

Image © Exploring Alternatives

The house is an irregular round shape, and it has a ton of light coming in from the secondhand windows, glass blocks and glass bottles that she incorporated into the walls. What you can’t see is that inside the walls she also put jars filled with garbage that couldn’t be recycled to act as filler.

When the sun hits the glass blocks built into the wall, it creates a really magical space!

She has a wood stove for heat, and an electric baseboard heater with a thermostat that she can leave on if she’s gone during the winter.

Tiny Cob House Tour 3

Image © Exploring Alternatives

The custom kitchen cabinets had to be modified to fit the curve of the walls, and she added a pop out greenhouse window that gives more light for her plants.

The house draws water from a well and uses propane for cooking, although she has purchased and set up a home biogas system that will allow her to create her own methane for cooking with just kitchen scraps.

Tiny Cob House Tour 5

Image © Exploring Alternatives

The second floor is one wide open bedroom and office space with south-facing windows to get passive solar heating during the winter. If you look carefully, you’ll see there’s also a toilet for pee only, and a custom wood burl sink.

The main bathroom is in a separate shed with a flush toilet and a secondhand clawfoot tub. The shed has a skylight that brings in heat from the sun, and since the climate is very mild, it’s not a big deal to go outside to the shed to use the bathroom. The toilets are connected to a septic tank.

Tiny Cob House Tour 4

Image © Exploring Alternatives

This cabin has a cheerful vibe that very closely matches the positive energy that Marie France exudes when you meet her.

It’s perfectly sized for her to live with her boyfriend and it has everything they need. A large kitchen, two couches for relaxing and having friends over, an office space, and a big comfy bedroom.

If you want to take a full tour, check out the video below!

Tiny Cob House Tour 1

Image © Exploring Alternatives

VIDEO: Woman’s Magical Cob House Built Earth and Reclaimed Materials


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Danielle is a digital nomad who is passionate about tiny spaces, living with less, reducing waste and eating plant-based food. Danielle is half of the Exploring Alternatives blog & video project. You can find more of her at www.ExploringAlternatives.ca and her Exploring Alternatives YouTube Channel.
{ 14 comments… add one }
  • ken leigh
    December 2, 2019, 9:21 pm

    Beautiful, great flow!

  • Michael L
    December 2, 2019, 9:50 pm

    This house is awesome!

  • David Harriman
    December 3, 2019, 5:15 am

    What a lovely house with a minimal impact on the environment, very well done. Even though I watched the video on my computer, I still got the positive feeling that it’s really light and airy, with a nice vibe, and just looks like a really nice place to be. I would love to see it at Christmas when I would guess it feels even more cosy and magical, especially with the trees all around. Just brilliant!

  • Diana
    December 8, 2019, 2:33 am

    100 percent love this! Have always wanted to build a cob house like this since I first saw cob. I love cob houses and this is the perfect size. She did a fantastic job…maybe someday! She has such an amazingly cute personality. I love her comment about her dad cussin a little bit. Adorable house/young woman…so inspiring. I agree with her. Living small is awesome!

  • Delores Bruyette
    December 29, 2019, 5:37 pm

    Awesome job. The window squares is a wonderful idea. Love the different spots. You could also put colored sarain wrap and put different colors in different squares like stained glass. Loved the home. I would live in this little doll house forever. You have been given a great gift. Your home is a very warm and inviting..

  • Harry Anderson
    December 29, 2019, 6:06 pm

    How do you convince your local code enforcement officer that it is safe so you can get a building permit?

  • Aaron T Lynch
    February 10, 2020, 12:51 am

    it would be awesome to meet you. you did a great job, congrats!

  • Julie B
    March 16, 2021, 8:25 am

    I love COBB housing. I loved this woman’s home she did a great job doing hers. I like the set up and the bathroom being in another home of its own saved space. Thank you for doing COBB homes keep them coming. If you want to learn more about Cobb go to you tube and its all there. I believe Oregon has the most Cobb homes and Teachers then any where else. You can build it for under any $1,000, and most States had area of grey for Cobb homes und er 500 sq ft. Check with your building code person before buying land. The fire price, will last a 100 years, make a thermal mass, and is easy about furniture build it in to the walls or buy new. Check out YouTube you can build one easy with the videos on YouTube.

    • James D.
      March 16, 2021, 12:23 pm

      Well, codes change, the 2018 IRC update introduced Appendix Q that added code for Tiny Houses on foundations that are 400 Sq Ft or less. Now, for 2021 IRC update, they’re introducing Appendix U, from the Cob Research Institute’s Cob Code, which was approved for the 2021 IRC.

      So any municipality or state that adopts the update can make it easier to consider building a cob house…

      • Stephan of Arkansas
        September 28, 2021, 10:02 pm

        Many thanks, James D, for the legal citations/information. That “legal stuff” is now mind-numbing to me, but it is The Crucial First Step in deciding whether or not one can in fact proceed with this type of construction in any given area. Ms. Marie France Roy has done an exceedingly lovely job of it. Bravissimo!

        I am a former attorney that finally escaped the practice of law. In fact, after I had been practicing for only 3 years, I suddenly developed the greatest distaste for law practice. I stuck with it far too long, and the endless detail and negotiations with egotistical smart asses lead me to eventually scream “ENOUGH!!!” and become a garden designer. A major change there, but, for me, the better. The best part is that plants don’t talk back in irritating voices; in a worst case they quietly die.

        But but butttttt…… in this modern, semi-godless, uber-complicated country of ours (U are from the USA I take it?) one simply M U S T know a good, honest attorney. Such persons exist. But one has to look.

        These comments are respectfully submitted. Stephan of Arkansas

        • James D.
          September 28, 2021, 10:12 pm

          Yup, good advise…

          A bit of an update, the 2021 IRC update will also introduce Appendix AW, for adding 3D Printed buildings to the code…

        • Natalie C. McKee
          September 29, 2021, 6:18 am

          Wow what a career shift, Stephan! Awesome!

  • Francine
    September 5, 2021, 3:46 pm

    Excellent open concept. So much light and so very cozy.

  • Clare Colins
    September 6, 2021, 1:34 am

    You sure did do ‘good’ This is a beautiful hand made home Well done 😊

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